The Ref posted a few links about this last fall and even now it’s still amazing. In a U8 soccer match, after a player was hurt after a collision and the referee didn’t call a foul, a soccer mom came onto the field to argue with him. As the referee continually asked the woman to leave the field, her husband came up and started choking him. No joke:
The coach, Hornbeck said, was arguing that a foul should have been called. Wilhelmsen, Hornbeck said, had to “yellow card” the coach, which is an official warning. Hornbeck said the coach continued to dissent, and Wilhelmsen gave him a second yellow card and ejected him from the game, which meant the coach had to go beyond “sight and sound” of the game. Hornbeck said that the coach refused to leave because he wanted to watch his son play the rest of the game.
Wilhelmsen said that was when a parent, Alma Rodriguez, came on to the field to argue that a penalty should have been called. Wilhelmsen said he asked her several times to leave the field. That’s when Wilhelmsen said the woman’s husband, William Favretto, charged him.
“The next thing I know,” Wilhelmsen said, “this guy had his hands around my neck.”
As I have said before – crazy soccer parents are NOT unique – other sports have them too – and in all sports they are a VERY tiny minority. But they still exist. However, it is human nature to avoid confrontation and often parents on the edge are ignored hoping they with shape up and nothing bad will happen. Well not in this case.
Not only was this parent banned for life, the DA upgraded his battery charge to aggravated battery, which is a felony.
Let that sink in a bit. This guy, watching his kid’s soccer match, is likely to end up a convicted felon. That will have a serious impact on his life. All because he got so upset during a soccer match between six and seven year olds that he had to defend his wife’s honor and choke the referee who was asking his wife to leave the field. Did you notice how the husband explained his actions as ‘protecting his wife’ like the referee was going to attack her or something.
The trick is, read the initial article again, all the way through. Do you notice the one person who should have set a better example?
The coach, Hornbeck said, was arguing that a foul should have been called. Wilhelmsen, Hornbeck said, had to “yellow card” the coach, which is an official warning. Hornbeck said the coach continued to dissent, and Wilhelmsen gave him a second yellow card and ejected him from the game, which meant the coach had to go beyond “sight and sound” of the game.
I see it time and time again. If a team has parents on the sidelines who are pushing the envelope, the coach across the field usually isn’t far behind. If you coach a youth soccer team, like it or not, you set the tone for your parents and they WILL react to you. This whole situation would likely have never occurred if the coach had kept his mouth shut and understood that sometimes kids collide when there is no foul and sometimes officials miss calls. Regardless – the child was OK and the match should have continued. But the coach set the tone and his parents followed suit. Now someone will possibly be branded as a felon the rest of their life because they lost control at their kid’s soccer match. Stories like this should be shared not to sensationalize problem parents in sports, but instead to be used as a wakeup call to parents about how quickly things can spiral out of control and what may end up happening.
And yes – I absolutely think the DA did the right thing. The setting of an attack is irrelevant. The attack itself and its severity are what determine the charges brought. Kudos to the DA.
Like it or not coaches, you are responsible for your parent’s behavior. I’m still surprised at how many people don’t get that.